The War of the Wall

by Toni Cade Bambara

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What is the falling action in "The War of the Wall"?

Quick answer:

The falling action for the story "The War of the Wall" comes after the climax, which occurs when the local people are awed by the finished mural. The action winds down when, after the initial excitement, the children begin to look more closely at the many details of the painting.

Expert Answers

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The falling action of a story comes between the climax and the conclusion. All through "The War of the Wall," the tension has been rising between the neighborhood and the seemingly snooty and distant "painter lady" who has come to do a mural. She seems to ignore the people around her. She is treated as an annoying outsider with different ways from the rest of the people. She irritates Mama by wanting her food made specially. We expect mischief and a quarrel to erupt, but the climax comes when the mural is completed and the entire neighborhood is awed and uplifted by the work.

The falling action comes as the children look more closely at the deeply moving mural and begin to pick out details, including such items as the red, black, and green of the liberation flag. Looking at the mural more closely helps the children come down, at least a little bit, from ecstatic high of first seeing the finished work.

The conclusion comes in the dedication at the very end of the story, in which we find out that neighbor Jimmy Lyons, who was killed in Viet Nam, was her cousin. This moves the artist from an outsider in the community to a member of it.

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